Sunday, August 26, 2012

sci-fi/science fiction/SF: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Sunday, August 26, 2012

sci-fi/science fiction/SF 
“Sci-fi,” the widely used abbreviation for “science fiction,” is objectionable to most professional science fiction writers and scholars, and to many fans. Some of them scornfully designate alien monster movies and other trivial entertainments “sci-fi” (which they pronounce “skiffy”) to distinguish them from true science fiction. The preferred abbreviation in these circles is “SF.” The problem with this abbreviation is that to the general public “SF” means “San Francisco.” “The Sci-Fi Channel” has exacerbated the conflict over this term. If you are a reporter approaching a science fiction writer or expert you immediately mark yourself as an outsider by using the term “sci-fi.”


  1. Ya know, I've been reading Science Fiction ever since the future was invented. It never occurred to me that it mattered what it was called.

    This is just a typical tempest in a teapot perpetrated by those who feel the need to be superior to others who don't share their obsession or hobby.

    Great blog, by the way.

  2. An additional advantage to SF is that it may be read as Speculative Fiction. This latter is preferred by some since it may encompass Fantasy as well as Science Fiction. There is no clear line between these two genera, and I know several authors who prefer the more general term.